At a sparsely attended meeting last night, the Student Assembly of the Central Student Government proposed two resolutions that could directly impact students on campus.
Resolutions in support of tuition equality and medical amnesty — a program that would prevent students from receiving Minor in Possession of alcohol charges when calling for medical attention for over-intoxicated friends —were presented. The Assembly also discussed a proposal in support of groups in opposition to federal legislation that would expand the U.S. government’s power in fighting terrorism domestically.
CSG President DeAndree Watson said the tuition equality resolution was met with trepidation by the Assembly, but he expects it to pass when it is voted on at the Assembly meeting next week. The goal of tuition equality is to allow undocumented students who have lived the majority of their lives in Michigan to be considered as in-state students and exempt them from the higher out-of-state tuition.
Designating Michigan residents who are undocumented as in-state students could have positive economic benefits for the state of Michigan because the University could produce more alumni who live and work in the state, Watson said.
“(The) benefits go way beyond just the students,” he said.
Watson said he supports both the tuition equality and medical amnesty proposals due to their positive impact on the student body, adding that the medical amnesty program encourages students to make smart decisions.
“(Medical Amnesty) is something that has the potential to impact the entire student population,” Watson said. “… If it saves one student’s life, I think it’s worthwhile.”
In addition to proposals about medical amnesty and tuition equality, a resolution was proposed in support of organizations — including Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union — who are opposed to the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision allowing U.S. citizens to be detained for undisclosed amounts of time if they are thought to be involved with terrorism.
The Assembly will vote on the resolutions at next week’s meeting, and if passed, they will be sent to legislators and other political leaders.
LSA sophomore Omar Hashwi, a CSG representative and co-author of the resolution against NDAA, said the proposed policy “puts every American citizen in jeopardy.”
He added that it’s unnecessary to combat terrorism by compromising individual freedoms.
LSA sophomore Rayan El-Zein, a CSG representative and the other co-author of the resolution, said the NDAA would “preserve the status quo of the Patriot Act.”
The meeting was sparsely attended, with only 26 of the 44 Assembly members at the opening roll call, and 25 at the closing roll call. The number needed for a quorum is 22 members.
Business senior Matt Eral, the Assembly’s speaker of the house, said the turnout was “average to below average.”
In his address to the Assembly, Eral said low attendance at meetings and a lack of availability to constituents led to the creation of the Representative Outreach Task Force — a group that will be especially active this semester to improve student-representative relations. He added that he expects to develop individual websites for representatives with visible voting records, and will potentially require representatives to hold office hours.
Members of the Central Student Judiciary also attended the meeting to discuss complaints received after the CSG recall elections in November.
— Renuka Santhanagopalan contributed to this report.